President Donald Trump’s “mental acuity” and his determination to follow through with what one reporter called the prior restraint of Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury book were questioned today as the White House endured Day 2 of the book’s fall-out.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders repeatedly slammed the book at today’s presser as “tabloid trash,” gossip, “false and fraudulent,” “sad” and “pathetic,” but nearly just as often declined to confirm that her boss would indeed take the author and publisher Henry Holt to court. (Trump’s lawyers sent them a cease and desist letter today).
Asked whether the president’s lawyers had explained that prior restraint is unconstitutional, Sanders declined to comment on conversations between Trump and his team.
Nor would Sanders provide more than a couple examples of inaccuracies in the book. She pointed to a passage that claimed Trump didn’t know who John Boehner was — they played golf together, Sanders noted — as false, and added that some of the ages of White House employees were mistaken by Wolff.
“I’m not going to go through every single page of the book” to list inaccuracies, Sanders said.
Still, she repeated stopped short of confirming that Trump would actually proceed to court with the legal action, and suggested the president had no plans to take action against others quoted in the book.
Asked whether Breitbart News should part ways with Bannon — as the White House has suggested other news organizations do with reporters who run afoul of the president — Sanders said Breitbart “should look” at the idea.
As reporters repeatedly asked about the president’s mental fitness, a subject raised throughout the book’s excerpts released prior to next week’s publication, Sanders at one point called the suggestion “disgraceful and laughable.”
Trump himself made an odd guest appearance at the start of the press conference, speaking from a remote location (apparently a couple hundred steps down the hall) in a taped address, the camera angles identical to the videos he posts on Facebook. In his comments, Trump boasted of the “historic tax cut” that he said will result in bigger paychecks for Americans, and thanked the various companies “that worked so hard to do it.”